There’s something special about Disney’s Wreck-it-Ralph films for those of us who cover both films and video games. Ralph is a property that exists in both realms, as it is a film series about a video game character, making it the best of both worlds — all with that patented Disney touch. The first Wreck-it-Ralph film in 2012 tackled the video game world, more so the world of an arcade, with humor and heart, and the beloved film just begged for a sequel. Disney listened and last fall saw the release of the follow up, Ralph Breaks the Internet. Now, the sequel is making its way to Blu-Ray for home enjoyment, and there’s no better time to revisit the world of Ralph, Vanellope, and the rest of the arcade gang as they venture out into the sometimes scary world wide web.
Ralph Breaks the Internet keeps the humor and the heart, but this time expands the world past the confines of Litwak’s arcade and into the vast internet. The sibling-like relationship between Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) has remained solid since the events in the first film, but Vanellope is constantly wondering if there is more out there in the world, besides the same old Sugar Rush races. Ralph loves the status quo, and prefers staying in his game and terrorizing citizens and battling Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer) day in and day out.
One day, with Ralph’s misguided help, Vanellope decides to go against her programming and her game, which causes the steering wheel on the Sugar Rush game cabinet to break. Mr. Litwak (Ed O’Neill) and a group of smartphone-savy kids go to eBay and discover that the cost of replacing the part is more than the game is worth. Mr. Litwak decides to scrap Sugar Rush entirely, which spells doom for Vanellope. She and Ralph decide to venture out into the internet to find this eBay (or e-Boy, as Ralph hazily remembers it being called) and get the wheel controller themselves.
Of course, since Ralph is involved, things don’t go as planned and the dynamic duo are forced to quickly earn money to pay off their won auction before it gets relisted and before Litwak scraps Sugar Rush, so they have to work against the clock. The fastest way to earn internet money is to win high value loot in popular video games and then sell it for real money. And the most sought after loot is a car in a Grand Theft Auto-like game called Slaughter Race. It’s here that Vanellope finds a new purpose and a new friend, Shank (Gal Gadot), and Ralph doesn’t agree, causing the two long-time friends to butt heads. This leads to shenanigans and hijinks through some of the most recognizable web entities as, well, Ralph breaks the internet.
Ralph Breaks the Internet’s story is strongest when it highlights real-life entities and situations. The “auction house” setting at eBay is modeled after a real life auction, and how the film represents pop-up ads and even blockers is funny. The humor kicks up a few notches with Vanellope visits Oh My Disney, a website that is all-Disney and catered to kids. Here, we see Star Wars, Marvel, and of course, the classic Disney princesses all interacting in hilarious ways. It’s always fun when Disney pokes fun at itself, and the majority of the film’s laughs come from this extended second act scene.
Ralph Breaks the Internet builds on and exceeds the first film in almost every way. The internet is a gold mine for laughs under the right spotlight, and leave it to Disney to find that perfect light. Where as Wreck-It Ralph was more focused on the world of video games, Ralph Breaks the Internet focuses on something that almost everyone uses every single day. If you’re reading this, you’re using it now! It matters more, and that makes the source material that much more important. This is one of biggest reasons why this Ralph and Vanellope adventure succeeds and betters its predecessor.
The Blu-ray release of Ralph Breaks the Internet comes stacked with bonus features, which includes:
- How We Broke The Internet – A behind the scenes look at how the animators at Disney Animation Studios and the filmmakers brought this story to life. There is a ton of fantastic information here, and the interviews with the creators help highlight neat facts and how the story evolved throughout the production. My favorite fact that I learned from this doc is that the seedy, dark web virus character Double Dan (voiced by Alfred Molina) was actually designed to be textured like a loaf of Spam. I’ve watched this movie multiple times now and never picked up on that, and I found it very interesting. That just goes to show the level of thought that went into Ralph Breaks the Internet.
- Surfing for Easter Eggs – In a film like this, much like its predecessor, the Disney animators have hidden tons of easter eggs and inside jokes. Some are very clear and straightforward, and others require you to know back stories about classic Disney properties. This is a short vignette, but it does start the viewer thinking about looking deeper into each scene to find all the hidden stuff.
- The Music of Ralph Breaks the Internet – This feature highlights the music of the film, with interviews from Henry Jackman, the film’s composer, as well as lyricist Alan Menken, and Imagine Dragons and Julia Michael, who both wrote original songs for the film.
- BuzzzTube Cats – This is a collection of Disney-created animated cat videos used to signify how obsessed the real internet is with cat videos. It’s a short feature but worth checking out.
- Deleted Scenes – Usually the crown jewel of bonus features, the deleted scenes in Ralph Breaks the Internet are basically animated storyboard sketches with the completed voice work used to convey the scenes. Only the last in the small handful made it through any kind of production, and none of the five scenes need to be in the finished film. The creators made a good call here.
- Music Videos – The music videos for Imagine Dragons’ “Zero” and Julia Michaels’ “In This Place” are included in the features.
Ralph Breaks the Internet’s 7.1 DTS-HDMA audio makes for a clean, multi-channel experience on the Blu-ray version. But save for a few scenes in the Slaughter Race game, it wasn’t very noticeable. The DVD version uses Dolby Digital 5.1, and the Digital copy included in the combo package is 7.1. Dolby Digital Plus.
The video transfer on the Blu-ray disc makes the colors pop off the screen, and this HD version is very clean and inviting, visually speaking. We did not test out the SD/DVD version of the film.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is a must own film for fans of animation, Disney or otherwise, and the perfect follow-up film to 2012’s hit Wreck-It Ralph. The new film betters the series in both heartfelt laughs and heart wrenching emotion. These characters are well written and wonderfully performed, and this series is one that resonates with someone like myself, who lives and works in both the gaming and film worlds. Ralph’s newest — and best — adventure is now available for you to own and enjoy, and you can use the internet to pick yourself up a copy for your collection.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is available now on DVD, Blu-Ray, and 4K Blu-Ray. It’s also available digitally in all formats.
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